Here To Stay
I am disturbed by the tendency of some people to view Christianity as a trend rather than a way of life. Some take it to the next level and try to make it some sort of a secret club. If you doubt me, just look at the reaction to the 2004 election results. It didn't take the media long to start harping on how "Evangelical Christians" turned the tide and were trying to establish their morality through politics. Pretty soon, newspapers and magazines were filled with angry diatribes of how we had no right to push our beliefs on them, and how we are trying to establish a "wacky theocracy." The only thing more disturbing than this are the people that pick and choose popular aspects of the faith that they believe promise a quick, miracle cure for their problems. They will accept good things like peace, grace, and salvation, but ignore the difficult things like patience, obedience, and sacrifice. The first time they have to wait or give up something, they're out of the game.
I am not going to get into politics here, but I will admit that people are adamant about their opinions on religion and politics. I even had a psychology teacher in high school that warned all of her students to never discuss either of these topics unless they are looking for a fight. So many of us have found this to be true. Nothing makes people mad faster than questioning their morals. Yet Christians are called to spread the good news of Christ throughout the world. So how are we supposed to do this if we aren't allowed to talk about it? Many people believe their own life should be a testament to the teachings of Christ, and they shouldn't need to talk about it. While we are supposed to demonstrate our faith through our actions, it's not enough.
I found through experience that if you live right, you are eventually going to be questioned about it. Christ says, "You are the light of the world ? Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14; 16 RSV) People are going to see this light through your words and actions and wonder what it is about. Sometimes it's in a good way, like when people ask me why I'm happy most of the time. Sometimes it's in a bad way, like a situation a few years ago when I complained about morals being compromised at work. In both instances, that light was shining through my actions, and people wanted to know why. These are the times when we are given an opportunity to share our faith and open this light to others.
We must be ready to tell people the truth about our faith, and let them know that it's no secret society of passing trend. Paul tells us, "let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer every one." (Colossians 4:6 RSV) This wise man knew through hard experience that the news of Christ would always light a fire in people: Either to accept Him and serve the Kingdom, or to anger them and try to shut you up. When people see the light of Christ, they are either drawn to it or desire to put it out!
People do come down hard on Christianity, but the truth is that we're here to stay. In the days of Christ's ministry, the priest and many other people of the old Jewish tradition did not like Him and wanted to silence His message. They liked the elite status they had as the chosen ones, and weren't happy about having God's love and approval opened up to everybody. There are many instances in the gospels where they questioned Christ's teachings, tried to trap Him in twisted words, or outright argued the validity of His message. He made uniting with God too easy, and that was the excuse used to crucify Him. What they forgot was that Jesus is eternal, and He is here to stay. His resurrection brought about the very thing God intended for humanity, which is our salvation and unity with Him through believe in Christ. He lives on in His believers through the Holy Spirit, and Christianity has been spreading ever since. In fact, it seems resurrection has become a theme in Christian life - every time the world has tried to bring us down, it rises again somewhere else. Despite the fact that every disciple was murdered except John (who was exiled) it kept growing. Every martyr of the faith gave it strength to revive and spread through the ages. Satan couldn't stop Christ's purpose, and His victory means this world can't stop it. It's like the church sign I saw one day that read: WE ARE THE CHRISTIANS SATAN WARNED YOU ABOUT. We're still going strong and just like Christ's message, we're here to stay. He even promised that "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." (Mark 13:31 RSV)
You have to accept the fact that people bound to this world will try to make your faith a liability, but you should always stand firm in it. You can never do wrong by doing right. Remember that suffering for doing right is temporary, while the reward is eternal. This world will pass away, but the Kingdom is permanent. Our job is to plant the seed in others; their job is to accept or reject it. If they accept it, you have started a wonderful work. If they reject it, "shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them" (Luke 9:5 RSV) and move on in search of others that are willing to hear you.
Christianity may not be the quick fix or miracle cure that this world wants, but its benefits are far more lasting and open to every human being on the planet. I can't imagine a better deal than comfort for this lifetime and rejoicing for eternity. People everywhere are always looking for good news that will make their lives better, and the message of Christ is the best news they can get!
Sherri Fulmer Moorer is a freelance Christian/Inspirational writer from Columbia, SC. Her writing focuses on applying faith to everyday living situations, and is based on her own personal experiences and the experiences of those around her. Her goal is to show people that the battles they face in life are shared by others, and how the Lord can use their experiences to build faith. She is the author of Battleground Earth - Living by Faith in a Pagan World (PublishAmerica 2004), which is a book about spiritual warfare and discovering faith in day-to-day living. For additional information, please visit the Battleground Earth web page at http://hometown.aol.com/bgearth/index.html
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